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Original Research Articles

Virtual Reality Games as an Intervention for Children: A Pilot Study

Authors:

Reema Muneer,

The Com DEALL Trust, Bangalore, Karnataka, IN
About Reema

Reema Muneer worked as a Developmental Educator with children with special needs for three years in India, including at The Com DEALL Trust, Bangalore. Reema's current research in the UK focuses on teaching and learning in higher education and broadly includes themes relating to inclusive education and widening participation.

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Tanushree Saxena ,

The Com DEALL Trust, Bangalore, IN
About Tanushree

Tanushree Saxena Chandhok currently works as a Training Coordinator at Com DEALL Trust, Bangalore, India. She is a master trainer and has a Master's degree (gold medalist) in Speech language pathology from AIISH, Mysore, India. Her main areas of interest are early intervention, developmental disabilities and augmentative and alternative communication. 

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Prathibha Karanth

The Com DEALL Trust, Bangalore, Karnataka, IN
About Prathibha

Prof. Prathibha Karanth has degrees in Psychology and Speech & Hearing, from the University of Mysore. She has worked in premier national institutions such as NIMHANS, Bangalore, CIIL and AIISH, Mysore and retired as Professor and Head of the Dept of Speech Language Pathology at AIISH, Mysore.   She is the recipient of several grants and awards including those from international organizations such as the Common Wealth, UNICEF, Fulbright and Rockefeller Foundations as also national bodies such as the ICSSR, ICMR, NAMS, NCERT and SRTT. She has published over 80 papers and chapters in peer reviewed journals and professional books (national and international). She has also published over fifteen books and manuals on language and communication disorders, assessment and training.

She is the Series Editor for CommunicAids – an indigenous resource provider for children with communication disorders and serves on the Editorial Boards of national and international journals as also an invited reviewer for other journals and publishers .

Currently, she is Program Director and Managing Trustee of the Com DEALL Trust which was set up by her in 2003 to run the Communication DEALL program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders designed by her and to serve the broader needs of children and adults with communication disorders.

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Abstract

Purpose: This pilot study explored the use of virtual reality-based games as an enjoyable yet effective intervention to improve skills in children with developmental disabilities. Although the intervention was primarily targeted at the enhancement of motor skills, the children’s communication, cognitive and social/emotional skills were also monitored and changes, if any, were tracked during this period.

Methods: Therapists guided 5 children (4 boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder and 1 girl with Learning Disability) while they played carefully chosen games on the Xbox-Kinect, in individual sessions. Each child attended between 4 and 6 sessions over a span of one month. Therapists used a 4-point rating scale to evaluate specific skills in each of the four domains (motor, communication, cognitive and social/emotional) at the beginning of the intervention, and again at the end.

Results: Pre-and post-intervention scores revealed that the children made significant progress, not only in certain motor skills but also in skills from the cognitive and social/emotional domains. None of the children regressed in any of the skills monitored from the different domains.

Conclusions: Initial findings indicate that virtual reality games provide a useful platform for building interventions for children with developmental disabilities. There is much scope for future research in this area. The results of the study provide insights into the skills which might require prolonged, consistent inputs during the intervention, and the ones which might be acquired quickly through leaps in learning. The different ways in which children with varied developmental profiles might benefit from virtual reality-based interventions were also highlighted.

How to Cite: Muneer, R., Saxena, T. and Karanth, P., 2015. Virtual Reality Games as an Intervention for Children: A Pilot Study. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 26(3), pp.77–96. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v26i3.456
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Published on 24 Oct 2015.

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